Muscular and Mystical Hope
Fifty years ago, as a kid with cancer, I learned that St. Jude was known as the “Patron Saint of Lost or Hopeless Causes.” St. Jude is often seen as a symbol of choosing faith when all seems lost, finding a deeper truth in a time of great challenge and uncertainty. Over the years and through difficult experiences, I have come to trust that hope, though sometimes lost… is real, always alive, and ready to be rediscovered.
The ways we find and follow the miracles of hope, however, are counterintuitive. Through a different kind of looking and listening than our culture’s typical quick-fix, merely optimistic approach. If things are going really well, we are tempted eventually to believe we’re completely in control of our own destiny. Unfortunately, in times of great challenge and uncertainty, too often, we react to our fear with anxious inflexibility.
Sometimes we even get into the habit of avoiding pain so much that we become addicted to escaping reality and get trapped in denial. We might even experience uncertainty as pure chaos and hopelessness. We begin to experience times of vulnerability only as a threat. We react to our fears in ways that often harm ourselves and others.
Instead, hope teaches us to be more deeply aware and respond with a deeper trust. We discover greater resilience in the flow of grace and have visions of new possibilities.
Starting the week of September 12th, we will begin four different groups that will take a deep dive into hope — four new ways you can connect with others in small groups that are open to everyone through Zoom.
No One Walks Alone, Even if You Stay at Home
Because we will be meeting for soul care and exploring hope through Zoom, you can join us from wherever you have access to the internet and Zoom. That means, even if you can’t get to the church building in downtown Fort Worth, you can still join us. And you can bring friends and relatives, dogs and cats, from near and far. This is one way that we can gather “where no one walks alone.”
You may attend any or all of these options via Zoom: https://zoom.fumcfw.org/2
And it’s ok if you join late, leave early, or miss a session. It’s about grace all the way down. Join other Pilgrims on these journeys of Hope.
If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable connecting with others through Zoom, have any questions, or just want to check in, give me a call (817-939-4593) or email (LDelony@myfumc.org.)
So here are the open groups in which you can connect with others throughout this Fall!
1. Hope is a Muscle
This open group is based on a new 20-part course by Krista Tippett, award-winning interviewer of “On Being” podcast. Together we will be exploring different topics that relate directly to growing stronger with deepening hope. (Topics such as: “Befriending Hopelessness,” “Rising to Your Best Self,” “Moral Imagination,” and “Tending Joy” will be explored.). People can prepare ahead of our gatherings or just drop in for discussions grounded in 10-15 min audios and readings shared each week.
Mondays 9:30-10:30 am
2. Mystical Hope by Cynthia Bourgeault, and the Practice of Centering Prayer
We will read short passages from the book “Mystical Hope” by Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, friend and colleague of Fr. Richard Rohr. Each session, we will take 30 minutes for deep-diving, soulful discussions. After the first 30 minutes, we will begin the shared, silent practice of Centering Prayer. If you are not familiar with Centering Prayer, this is your chance to learn and practice this contemplative experience of prayer that helps deepen hope and experience peace.
Here is an intro.to Centering Prayer: http://www.centeringprayer.com
Tuesdays and Fridays 7:00-8:00 am
3. From Pain to Purpose: Transformation Through Adversity
This open, weekly group welcomes anyone who desires help with “breathing through pain,” past pain, current or chronic. We can open inner space for a deeper sense of peace and healing through soulful connection and exploring contemplative practices. Through support and prayer practices, participants can discover blessings of gratitude that encourage us all to live with a deeper purpose. “If we do not transform our pain, we will most assuredly transmit it—usually to those closest to us.” – Fr. Richard Rohr
Wednesdays 9:30-10:30 am
4. Spirituality and the Twelve Steps: Breathing Underwater by Richard Rohr
We live in a rushed culture that tempts us to accept quick-fix pseudo-solutions. At the same time, the spiritual path helps us meet challenges authentically and discover deepening hope, healing, and purpose. As we explore Richard Rohr’s book “Breathing Underwater” and safely share soul stories, this open, weekly group will help us gain a deeper understanding of the spiritual wisdom of the 12 – step orientation to addictions of all sorts.
Fridays 9:30-10:30 am
Come and join us in “Sacred Circles” via Zoom!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Len Delony
Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation